By Julie Wales, Family & Special Needs Counsellor 
Building and maintaining healthy self-esteem is crucial for personal well-being and success. If you have a strong self-esteem you will feel more able to cope with life’s up and downs. 
Here are seven self-esteem habits you can practice. 

1. Practice Self-Compassion 

How often are we really kind to ourselves? Try and treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend. Avoid self-criticism and negative self-talk. When you make mistakes or face challenges, remind yourself that it's a part of being human. None of us are perfect and the fact you are trying counts. 

2. Set Realistic Goals 

Set achievable goals that challenge you but are within your reach. Accomplishing these goals can boost your self-esteem, as they provide evidence of your capabilities. Break larger goals into smaller, manageable steps to make progress more achievable. Block time in your diary or planner to try out your goals. 

3. Positive Affirmations 

Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Use affirmations like, "I am capable," "I am deserving of happiness," or "I am enough." Repeating these statements can help rewire your thought patterns. Write on post-it notes or on your mobile phone notes or in notebook/journal or download a meditation app. 

4. Accept Compliments 

When someone compliments you, accept it graciously. Don't downplay your achievements or deflect compliments with self-deprecating remarks. Acknowledge your accomplishments and appreciate the positive feedback. Set up a file with all of the compliments written down that you have received from others. Label it “My Happy File”. 

5. Healthy Self-Care 

Prioritize self-care practices that promote physical and mental well-being. Exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Taking care of your physical and emotional health can boost your self-esteem. It may be that you want some ‘me time’. Plan a time when you will read a book or watch a tv programme without interruption, just sitting with a cuppa in silence may be the thing you really crave. It doesn’t matter what it is but block out time to do it. I feel I need to persuade adults often gently, especially Parents to self-care! We can’t pour from an empty cup. 

6. Surround Yourself with Supportive People 

Spend time with people who uplift and support you. Surrounding yourself with positive, encouraging individuals can bolster your self-esteem. Conversely, distance yourself from those who undermine or belittle you. 

7. Challenge Negative Beliefs 

Identify and challenge negative beliefs about yourself that contribute to low self-esteem. Ask yourself if there's evidence to support these beliefs and if they are rooted in reality. Remember that building self-esteem is an ongoing process, and it may take time. Be patient with yourself and stay committed to practicing these habits consistently. Developing healthy self-esteem can greatly enhance your overall quality of life and your ability to navigate challenges and bounce back. 
Seek counselling if needed to work through deep-seated negative beliefs. I can offer help around building self-esteem whether you are adult, teen or a couple. 
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